North Korea's test-firing of a ballistic missile constitutes a "threat to international peace and security" as Pyongyang ratchets up tensions in the region, the EU and NATO said today. "This and previous launches constitute a threat to international peace and security and further aggravate tensions in the region at a time when de-escalation is instead needed," EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement. The missile was launched early today and travelled more than 700 kilometres before landing in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu called Pyongyang's move "a new flagrant breach of a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions" which constituted "a threat to international peace and security". Several analysts saw the launch as a test for South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In, a liberal who has said he wants to ease tensions with the North. "The DPRK is expected to comply with its international obligations: it must halt these launches and abandon its ballistic missiles programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," Kocijancic said. The EU also said it was ready to support "a credible and meaningful dialogue" between Pyongyang and international leaders. Though it also called for a "credible dialogue" with the international community, NATO said North Korea should "cease all activities related to its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes" and "abandon all existing weapons of mass destruction programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner". Multiple sets of UN and US sanctions against North Korea have done little to deter the country in its pursuit of its nuclear and missile ambitions. The latest test was the North's first launch since a US missile defence system that has been deployed in the South became operational on May 2, and comes shortly after a failed ballistic missile test on April 29.
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